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Late Facebook stream for South Africa qualifier after CAF-Lagardère deal cancellation

A South Africa fan cheers during a game against Denmark at Rio 2016 Olympics (Photo by Celso Junior/Getty Images)

Live coverage of South Africa’s qualifying match for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations was streamed yesterday (Thursday) on Facebook after SuperSport, the pay-TV broadcaster and rights-holder, said it was unable to show the game.

Earlier in the week, SuperSport claimed that it did not have a “firm contractual agreement in place” in the wake of the move by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to terminate its rights agreement with the Lagardère Sports agency.

Ahead of South Africa’s away match in Ghana, the South Africa Football Association (SAFA) said that, “thanks to our friends at CAF”, the game would be streamed on the national association’s Facebook page.

SuperSport is the erstwhile pay-TV rights-holder across sub-Saharan Africa to matches that fall under the auspices of CAF. However, CAF this month took action to end its deal with Lagardère Sports, an agreement that was due to run from 2017 to 2028 and was worth $1bn ($€890m).

The deal has long been a controversial one and has been the subject of investigations by the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) and the Competition Commission of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (CCC).

On Wednesday, CAF responded to SuperSport’s stance that it could not broadcast the Ghana-South Africa game. CAF said that it “took note of Supersport’s decision and is taking the necessary steps to ensure that the matches scheduled to be broadcast by Supersport are broadcasted by other sources, so that football fans can continue to follow CAF competitions”.

The Ghana-South Africa qualifying game was aired in Ghana by public broadcaster GTV.